Sligo Mountaineering Club adopts the “A”, “B” and “C” grading system. In the classification of these grades the calendar committee is assuming that routes can be completed in reasonable weather conditions. Adverse weather may affect navigation and add to the risk in overground travel substantially. In the northwest during the winter months hikers can expect to encounter low temperatures leading to flurries and falls of snow and the build-up of surface ice. In these circumstances, routes may need to be tweaked to consider slower times, height gain and distance. The practice in the club on these occasions is to collectively risk assess and then adapt to the circumstances encountered or call-off-the-hike.
“A‘’ grade hikes are those hikes that have a fair degree of difficulty requiring good hillwalking experience with capable and proven navigational skills in all weather conditions. They are strenuous in that they will require a good level of fitness. Typical terrain encountered on these hikes are open bogs, open and often steep mountainside, rocks, scree, and cliffs without clear paths. Underfoot conditions are rough and uneven and will require one to have some basic scrambling skills. Those on ‘A’ walks can expect to be out on the mountain for 8 – 10-hours, covering up to 25-km and a possible hight gain of between 1000 - 1500 metres.
“B” grade hikes are those hikes requiring participants to have hillwalking experience. In our frequented locations you will encounter rough, boggy, and uneven terrain with the possibility of rocky, moderately steep ground on open mountainside. Navigation skills are required. All participants must be appropriately dressed for all weather conditions – check out the essential kit list on this website. Those on ‘B’ walks can expect to be out on the mountain for 5 – 7 - hours, covering up to 15-km and a possible hight gain of between 600 - 1000 metres.
“C” grade hikes are those hikes requiring participants to learn and practice some basic navigation skills and build up some hillwalking experience. Typical terrain encountered on these hikes are open mountainside, bogs, rocks, scree, with some rough ground and moderate ascents. Newcomers to the club will expected to develop their fitness and navigational skill in the company of other more experienced members and avail of the training programmes provided by our training officers. Those on ‘C’ walks can expect to be out on the mountain for 3 – 4-hours, covering up to 10-km and a possible hight gain of between 300 - 600 metres. Please be aware that distance is not a reliable measure of the level of difficulty. If we take for example, the Ballygawley Mountains that have a relativity small footprint in term of mountain size and distances covered, however the terrain itself is steep, overgrown with vegetation and extremely difficult underfoot.